While author and activist JK Rowling has previously used Twitter to amplify the voices of marginalised groups, she came under fire this past weekend after posting a tweet that diminishes the experience of those who menstruate, but who do not identify as female. Rowling wrote, “People who menstruate. I’m sure there used to be a word for these people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”
The tweet in question missed the mark so much so that Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe, a trans community ally, spoke out against Rowling’s words in a blog post for The Trevor Project, a non-profit dedicated to suicide prevention amongst LGBTQ+ young people. He wrote, “Transgender women are women. Any statement to the contrary erases the identity and dignity of transgender people and goes against all advice given by professional healthcare associations who have far more expertise on this subject matter than either Jo [JK Rowling] or I.” In the days that followed, Radcliffe’s response has been applauded, and it has highlighted once again that all people who menstruate have a place in the femcare space, no matter their gender identity.
Femcare is gender fluid
Just as not all women menstruate, not all people who menstruate are women. Trans men, non-binary, intersex people and everything in between can have periods, too, and we must acknowledge these experiences. Menstruation is a biological phenomenon that isn’t exclusive to cisgendered (a term for people whose biological sex matches their gender identity) women, and just because someone has a uterus, doesn’t automatically mean they’ll identify as female – periods aren’t a ‘woman’ thing, they’re a bodily function. Some trans men menstruate. Some non-binary people menstruate. Some intersex people menstruate. Some women menstruate. Whether or not your menstruate, your period is valid, as is your gender identity.
Not your average period pain
We’ve all been there – curled up on the sofa with a hot water bottle, a bar of chocolate and a good chick flick streaming on Netflix. Period pain can affect anyone of any gender, but for those in the trans community, period pain can be emotional, too. Trasngender model and activist Kenny Ethan Jones grew up as a boy with a period, and for him, the emotional pain exceeded the physical pain. When he got his first period, he explains, “I felt isolated; everything about periods was tailored to girls, yet me, a boy, was experiencing this and nothing in the world documented that.” He goes on to say, “Having a period already causes me a lot of dysphoria, but this dysphoria becomes heightened when I have to shop for a product that is labeled as women’s health.”
Many trans men have echoed this experience, and calling all people who menstruate ‘women’ erases the experience of people like Kenny. We want to do what we can to acknowledge these experiences, not hide them.
&SISTERS cares about all sisters (and brothers)
We’re committed to providing period products to people across the entire spectrum of gender identity, not just cisgendered women. We’re moving away from using gendered, outdated terms like ‘women’s health’ and ‘feminine hygiene’, and we’re instead working to use more inclusive language like menstrual health, womxn’s health and femcare. If you’re a member of the trans, non-binary, intersex or any other non-cisgendered community, we want to do what we can to make your period more comfortable with our organic cotton period products and nüdie cup, and we’d love to hear from you. If there’s anything more we can do to make your femcare experience better, our ears are open – send us a DM on Instagram or write to us at [email protected]